Dangerous Toys Cause Child Injuries

Edited by Admin
Dangerous Toys Cause Child Injuries
Dangerous toys injure thousands of children every year. Learn more about how to prevent toy-related injuries.

Dangerous Toys


Most of us remember a favourite toy or two fondly, even decades after childhood has ended and are aware of how important they can be for a child's development as well as a source of fun. But every year thousands of children are injured by toys that have not been properly designed, constructed, or maintained. Toys may be incompletely or inaccurately labelled or shoddily manufactured; purchases or gifts may harbour hidden dangers. And with many children staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, toys may be getting more use – and therefore more wear and tear – than usual.


General Guidelines

How can you assess whether or not your children’s toys are safe? There are few absolute guarantees, but there are a number of guidelines that you can follow. Much depends on the age of the child; what may be safe for older children can pose a choking danger for toddlers, for example. Read the labels to make sure the toy is age-appropriate. When you have children of varying ages, it is imperative to ensure that the smaller ones don’t have access to toys they’re not yet ready for. Choking is a particular hazard for those aged three and under, and you also have to take your child’s inclinations and maturity level into consideration. (If your four- or five-year-old is still inclined to put things into their mouth, you may want to keep them away from choking hazards even longer.) For these younger children, toys should be large enough that they can’t be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe. If you have doubts, you can purchase a “choke tube” that mimics the size of a child’s windpipe; if the object fits inside the tube, it’s too small for younger children.


Particular hazards for younger children include:

  • Marbles, coins, small building blocks, small balls, and games with dice, all of which can lodge in the windpipe and block the breathing of a child.
  • Battery-operated toys. If you intend to allow your child to play with a battery-operated toy, ensure that it has a battery case that fastens with screws, and that the screws are tightened. In addition to being choking hazards, batteries can cause chemical burns and internal bleeding.
  • Small parts such as eyes, wheels, or buttons that could come loose.
  • Sharp ends or sides.
  • Strings longer than seven centimetres.
  • Parts that could pinch or trap a small finger.
  • Riding toys that the child is not yet able to balance on.


Of course, you’ll want to keep older children safe, too! Here are some things to watch for on labels:

  • Art supplies should be non-toxic.
  • Ensure that the manufacturer used lead-free paint.
  • Fabric toys should be labelled “flame-resistant” or “flame-retardant”.
  • Toys should not make loud sounds that could damage hearing.
  • Never buy unlabelled jewellery for children, which sometimes contains dangerous levels of lead and cadmium.
  • Avoid allowing your children to play with antique or hand-me-down toys. These may contain lead paint or other hazards allowed before safety standards were implemented.


In addition, you’ll want to be sure that toys don’t break down and become dangerous. Be sure to teach your children to care for their toys well; they should not be treated carelessly, and they should be put away after use. They should be kept clean, particularly if they’re designed for infants and toddlers who might put them in their mouths. (Don’t buy stuffed animals that cannot be laundered.) Parents should check toys regularly for signs of wood splinters, rust, broken seams, or breakage. Any hazardous toys should be repaired immediately or disposed of.



There are a number of websites you can visit to find out more information about toy safety. This Government of Canada website tells you more about the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act regulations regarding toys. Another Government of Canada site, found here, provides information about dangerous toys that have been recalled. A Boston-based advocacy group called WATCH (World Against Toys Causing Harm) singles out toys that pose safety hazards, such as fibres or small parts. The organization deplores that “classic toy dangers” such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels continue to appear on the market year after year. WATCH also warns about toys that promote violent or aggressive play and publishes an annual list of the “Ten Worst Toys.” Some of these toys may be inherently dangerous; others are being promoted for inappropriate age groups, and still others may require labelling recommending adult supervision. The current list includes such popular toys as the Star Wars Mandalorian Darksaber which encourages children to “swing for battle” but is constructed of rigid plastic and may cause facial and other impact injuries.


If your child has sustained a toy-related injury, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. These lawyers can help you to file an insurance claim or to pursue a lawsuit against the toy designer, manufacturer, or distributor.